This paper describes the elements of cognitive development that are influenced by socio-cultural, ethnic, or gender factors. The major ways through which these influence such elements have been analysed. The paper also discusses how a psychologist would use this kind of knowledge and understanding in assessing a child’s cognitive needs. There is alos a discussion and critique of the different theories of moral development for their relationship to children’s morality based on individual differences. This discussion is necessary in understanding human development and morality in children.
Psychologists define cognitive development as the sequential thought-construction which include remembrance, decision-making, and solving of problems from childhood, to teenage, and all to adulthood. The major elements of cognitive development include processing of information, human reasoning, memory, intelligence and development of human decision making (Santrock, 2008). Piaget’s theory dealt much with the reasoning ability of the child and how they tend to interact with the environment that surrounds them. Basically, the theory comes up with several elements which will definitely be influenced by a number of ethnic, gender and socio-cultural factors. For instance, decisions made by a person definitely depends on the culture, gender and ethnic foundations of the individual.
Problems faced in a given society will also be solved depending on the above factors as well. Since these elements tend to be significance, different children who have been raised up in different societies and environments will have the elements influenced accordingly, and hence bringing up individuals with varied views on specific issues. A psychologist can use this knowledge when assessing the cognitive needs of the child (Inhelder & Piaget, 1973). He or she will relate the basic factors affecting a child and analysing the solutions that can be recommended to the child. Since cognitive development touches construction of one’s thinking ability and decision making, the knowldge by the psychologist on these factors and child development will be adopted in assessment of individual needs (Santrock, 2008).
Moral development has remained a topic worth discussing. Different theories have been founded that explains the development and achievement of moral thought. Gilligan’s theory also fails to describe the development of children’s morality, but dwells much on women’s morality issues. Piaget’s theory does establish two processes while that of Kohlberg outlines six major stages in the development of morality. These theories suggest that the moral development of any individual will occur throughout one’s lifespan (Inhelder & Piaget, 1973). As we have seen above, different factors cause individual differences. These moral theories argue that the moral understanding and development on children is due to pre-convention. This is so because a child will do right things in order to avoid any kind of punishment. Since many children will have differences in their views, the theories are argumentative when it comes to moral establishment and development. Therefore, Kohlberg’s theory is more applicable in development of morality in specific children who have individual differences.
Inhelder, B. & Piaget, J. (1973). Memory and Human Intelligence. London: Routledge.
Santrock, W. (2008). Topical Approach: Life Span Development. New York: McGraw-Hill.